30 Jan 2012

Liverpool Legend admits: "I don't believe that for one minute"

Mark Lawrenson recently claimed that Liverpool's owners would prefer to win the Carling Cup over finishing 4th in the premier league this season (!), a view that most fans would (hopefully) reject out of hand. Anfield legend Steve McMahon doesn't agree with Lawro's view, and in a recent interview, he totally dismissed the idea.

Speaking to TalkSport, McMahon - who was Kenny Dalglish's first ever signing for Liverpool back in 1985 - was asked if he agreed that Liverpool should be prioritising the Carling Cup over finishing 4th. McMahon was clearly taken aback by the suggestion, and responded:

"I don't believe that for one minute. The Carling Cup will do nicely for the time being, but Champions League football is the only thing on Liverpool's mind; it's got to be, and fourth position is there for the taking"

Clearly, McMahon finds it incredulous that anyone would even consider a Carling Cup win to be more important than playing in the Champions League.

Alas, the sign that standards and ambition are plummeting is when you hear fans making excuses for failure, such as: 'This club is about winning trophies, so that's why the Carling Cup is more important'.

Finishing 4th should be demanded and expected of Kenny Dalglish, especially after all the money that's been spent over the last year. As McMahon says, with Arsenal and Chelsea's inconsistent form, it's there for the taking.

Suddenly arguing that winning the Carling Cup would constitute a 'great season' (as Lawro did), smacks of defeatism and acceptance of mediocrity. McMahon described Liverpool's home form as 'awful', and that's the real reason the club is not in the top four right now.

In my view, finishing outside the top four will be nothing short of a monumental failure for Liverpool, and fans are so scared of accepting it that they overcompensate by trumping up the importance of a comparatively meaningless domestic cup competition.

Bill Shankly once said: "Aim for the sky and you'll reach the ceiling. Aim for the ceiling and you'll stay on the floor".

If winning the Carling Cup is more of a priority than finishing 4th, then Liverpool are well and truly stuck on the floor at the moment.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. I would say we aimed for the ceiling since start of season. Never thought we can win the Premiership! If Shankly is right the ceiling is out of reach now!

  2. If reaching The Carling Cup Final is considered progress on a multi million pound spend then Cardiff City ,run on a shoestring must be the most improved club side in Europe

  3. The way sum fans attack kenny and the players its no surprise our away form is better

  4. The owners have set a rebuilding project as their goal and said from day one that it would not happen over night. Fans on the other hand seem to have forgotten those words because of what they want to see NOW!

  5. That's not really true - the Owners stated at the beginning of the season that 4th place was the priority, and that if it wasn't achieved it would be 'very disappointing'.  They clearly factored in 4th place as part of the rebuilding, and Liverpool have spent enough money to achieve it.

  6. Mcmahon has got his opinion which backs up your stance, Lawrenson had his opinion which backs up us fans who accept failure!!!! Mediocrity!!!!
    Gerrard had his opinion last week as well, wants to WIN trophies, yes WE all want the big ones but after 6 years without any success what so ever, I am happy to take a Mediocre Cup win!

    JK, what are your reasons for being so obsessed for the Champions league? Surely we would struggle to get through the group stages even if we qualified? Sure, it has the financial benefits and the ability to sign Better players but what does finishing 4th actually achieve? We are LFC and should be aiming to WIN the premier League but maybe us Defeatist and Mediocre accepting fans are just REALISTIC and understand the modern game is getting more difficult to be successful. Man City have proved it takes 2-3 years when you are buying success the way they have, we have spent peanuts in comparison and had a shit squad left by previous managers!!!

    Incidently JK, I expect LFC to end up atleast 4th this season as we have beaten Chelsea and Arsenal this season and due to play them at Anfield with the both of them not a shadow of their previous teams.
    Whether we do or not is another story but I will enjoy the occassion on February 26th and Hopefully celebrate another MEDIOCRE Cup Win!!!!
    you make reference to US accepting mediocresy and being defeatists, you come across as the most Negative LFC supporter I have come across, your articles are so cleverly worded so you are coming across subjective, avoiding the Blind faith brigade as you say but at times surely you must be able to congratulate the team or some individual players on some achievements this season?? You are so bloody quick to castrate any of the new signings when they are shit, how about a little praise when DUE?!!!!!

  7. Its still a rebuilding project End of.

  8. There's no point bitching about my opinion; This is how I think, and if you don't like it then you're free to visit other LFC sites that post views that match your own.  That way, you'll feel all warm and cosy inside because everyone will be agreeing with you, and reinforcing your view of the world :-)

  9. Re your points: In my view, every LFC fan should be calling for 4th place as a minimum requirement.  All this nonsense about 'rebuilding' is just an excuse.  You make it sound like the entire team was decimate and bereft of quality players when Dalglish took over.  That wasn't the case at all.  Liverpool are in transition, but it's not a wholescale rebuilding job, and it doesn't mean that we should just give up on an achievable 4th place finish.

    Liverpool are not in 4th place right now because of avoidable mistakes:

    * Wasting tens of millions of pounds on the wrong players.

    * Playing the wrong players/wrong formations etc too often


    There's no European football to distract the club this season yet we're still languishing in 7th place after dropping 14 points at home (!)

    If it was any other manager in charge there would be blood on the streets, but Kenny gets away with it because he's a club legend.

    Screw the Carling Cup - it's a meaningless, tin-pot trophy, and Liverpool are better than that. If the club's success is measured by winning that Cup then we're really in trouble.

    The FA Cup has infinitely more prestige IMO, but even then, winning that competition must take second place to finishing 4th.

    Everyone is jumping on the Carling Cup bandwagon now because, deep down, fans know that we're probably not going to make 4th place; and instead of holding the  management team accountable for that probable failure, fans are once again showing that they value the individual over the club by wildly exaggerating the importance of the Carling Cup.

  10. Hi, it's the (self proclaimed) King of Positivity here chaps. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!

    I agree with you to some extent Jaimie, I would rather top 4 and no trophy, but to be fair were in with a shout of both. I have to be honest I was hoping and slightly expecting a top 4 place, but when I look at the other 5 boys of competition conpared to us I can't really argue with it due to either the amount of money spent by them or consistent spending by them (City an Chelsea), their consistency (arsenal, united and Chelsea) and just very good management over the years (arsenal, Tottenham an united). We've not had over 18 months of the same management of the club, ownership, top spending etc. Personally I don't think we could moan with fifth and a cup. Ok we will all feel hard done by with the fact were beating or competing brilliantly with those teams above us so should be above them, but we need better options off the bench and a bit more confidence in breaking teams down who come to Anfield for a point and get one. Personally though I've always been quite happy with a League Cup final, I know it's belittled but what arĂȘte big differences between that an the FA Cup really?

  11. Well said...considering what we spent and where we are points towards failure ...Birmingham won the cup last yr...ask their fans would they rather be in the prem or have the micky mouse cup?

  12. Jamie, I agree that our goal should be to finish fourth, but I want to win the Carling Cup. I certainly dont want to lose the final.
    Isnt it possible that this is how fans feel?
    Other than your two articles siting Lawro's remarks I have yet to find anyone saying "the hell with champions league, we have the Carling to win!"
    Maybe I am not reading enough sites, but Im just not seeing people write off 4th just because we are in the Carling Cup final.

  13. Hi Brandt - I agree with you; I want us to win the Cup, but the thing that concerns me is that some ex-players, and now fans, seem to be suggesting the following:

    * Winning the Carling Cup and not finishing 4th would = a good season for Liverpool
    * Winning the CC is actually preferable to finishing 4th.
    * Winning the CC would be a sign of progress for LFC.

    Steven Gerrard said this the other day:

    "I understand that being in the top four is massive. At the beginning of the season, it’s probably the main aim, but I don’t want to say I finished in the top four, five times. I want to look back and say I won the Carling Cup three, four or five times"

    He's putting his own interests ahead of what's ultimately best for the club, and now that he's said that (along with Lawro and couple of others), fans are changing their views and starting to adopt the same attitude.

  14. I agree that we're in with a chance of both; the frustrating thing is that 4th place has been thrown away as a result of the club's own mistakes. Fans should (IMO) be questioning these mistakes, not just accepting them under the guide of 'rebuilding', and then desperately clinging on to the Carling Cup as some kind of evidence of progression.

    Spurs' wage bill is about 45% lower than Liverpool's over the last two years, yet they're challenging for the league.

    Re differences between FA and League Cup: The FA Cup has a long history; it's real football competition that unites all the leagues, and it still retains the magic of yesteryear. Basically, it's about football. The League Cup is, IMO, just about money. It's a sponsored competition now, and it's structured to make money (hence the pointless two-legged ties, which could easily be decided in one game).

    Obviously, I want Liverpool to win the final, but it's no compensation for missing out on 4th place, and it shouldn't mask the reality, which is that 4th place is this season's goal, and if it isn't achieved, it's ultimately a failure, and will cos the club tens of millions in potential revenue, as well as the ability to attract the kind of players who can take the club to the next level.

    If we miss out on CL football for a third year in a row, who's to say we'll make it next year? All the top teams will strengthen over the summer; Spurs will solidify their position, and it will be even tougher for Liverpool.

    Given Chelsea and Arsenal's inconsistency, this season was/is the ideal chance to make it into the top 4, and it increasingly looks like we've blown it.

  15. Totally agree with McMahon. 

    Times have changed. Yes, trophies are nice, regardless of which, especially after a barren run but considering nowadays there are 4 CL places up for grabs, it has to be the be all and end all. In terms of attracting new players in the summer (as well as other benefits), we NEED CL football as well as want to be playing in it. Any season we go without CL football, is a summer to go along with it where we haven't got a hope of getting a better level of players.Both would be nice but CL qualification is the minimum for us, regardless of winning the domestic cups.Its not as if Arsenal and Chelsea are running away with it as they are having their own troubles too as they are going through changes too. So I am not sure why people think they are out of sight from us. Just because its a new reign, doesn't mean we can't do it as the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea, despite their longevity/spending, etc, aren't exactly miles in front of us in terms of points. On top of that, they have had European football to contend with and still do, whilst we haven't, so its not like we haven't had any advantages in the league this season. So I don't agree with the apologist/settle-for-cups excuses, especially since other teams have 'excuses' too. The opportunity is there and its upto us to go for it.  So I do think it is realistic that we can get 4th place, if we get our act together in the league as we aren't playing European football this season.

  16. The Carling Cup in February should provide a nice little boost to Liverpool in their chase for fourth place or better

    A decent run in Champion's League equals c. £30 million in 2012/2013

    Champion's League qualification is, of course, our main goal. To state anything else is utterly naiive

  17. I can't argue with that, what I would say though is Spurs have had the same manager who was in Kennys position now. He's had time to mould his team into HIS team so that's why I also come up with the transition word myself and why I don't think we could see top 4 as a certainty or must have. At the same time as you said with Chelsea an Arsenals inconsistency (and even United and Spurs) I do believe if our signings hit the ground running and we had at LEAST an extra top quality option then we would be up there. I also stand by what I said earlier on in te season that we've been a mis-hit or a few inches from getting an extra twenty points.
    As for the FA Cup I hear what your saying but as a fan I would prefer to go to the FA Cup final and have a great run but if I'm going to the League Cup final instead it's not the end of the world for me, I don't know why, it just isn't. I think because it was the first trophy I remember us winning really clearly (I'm only 27). But I'm with you Jaimie, for all of your reasons we need fourth, just to build a better team. I think we can do it.

  18. What does 4th place achieve? For me, you already said it with the financial benefits and attracting better players. That, along with, more importantly for me, playing on the CL stage itself, is what catapults finishing 4th above the domestic cup. Times have changed. 

    Might be spoilt but I just got to have CL football. Love the competition. Hurts that we have been without CL. It is THE stage for big clubs. Regarding struggling to get out of group stage, CL isn't suppose to be easy. One of the reasons why its special. CL qualification> holding aloft the Carling Cup. Both would be great of course. 

  19. i will put this argument in a different way. over the next 5 years what would you prefer. getting into the champions league each year and not winning it as barca and madrid are to strong or winning 5 trophies e.g fa cup 2 and carling cup 3 times? i would prefer the cups!!!

  20. It would be disappointing not to get 4th but 'monumental failure'? Come on, a bit of perspective. If we win a cup, even one which isn't particularly prestigious, and get top 6 it will be an okay season. Not a good one, a bit better than bad but not great. 5/10. Monumental failure is the kind of thing we were looking at under Hodgson ie bottom half.

    Money has been wasted and with the relative poor form of our rivals it could be a bit of a missed opportunity but remember that no-one, not even Tottenham fans (I visited a few of their sites pre-season to see what they were thinking), thought Spurs would do this well. Secondly our two best players, Gerrard and Suarez, have been missing for large parts of the season.

    Also, a bit premature to call time on top 4. I'm not too optimistic but if we maintain our form against rivals and start picking up those easy points, as most of our performances against so called smaller clubs have warranted, we could well nick it. We only need a player who wasn't in the mix, or contributing, in the first half of the season like Gerrard, Downing, Carroll or even Kuyt to perform to their best and it will be a big lift.

  21. I do agree in heart but the premier league is not as easy as when Benitez in charge and do not feel we are right to expect it all so soon

  22. Don't get me wrong, the carling cup is garbage and lowest trophy in club football available but after 6 years withot a trophy it is something of a start.
    No, not what we expect or demand but something, I know the premier League and Champions League are the ones to be challenging for and absolutely loved the champions league campaigns under Benitez(Enough to spend nearly £2,000 to make Istanbul in 2005) My point is that Fans expectations are always to high(IMO) too soon.
    The way we played last season under KK was so good at times that I expected us to kick on this year with the new signings this season challenge top 4 as a minimum.
    Agree things need tweaking but they are no where near as bad as some fans are making out.

    I do honestly feel 4th is ours o lose with Chelsea and  Arsenal due at Anfield! Time will tell and as we know the players and Manager should be held accountable then and not now when it is all there to be played for!!!